Social anxiety are the intense emotions around social situations of all kinds. These clearly include fearful anticipation. However, embarrassment and humiliation fears are at the heart of the anxiety, together with the attendant physical manifestations. These include sweating, blushing and stammering and classic panic attack symptoms which add to the self consciousness around social situations.
Treating the consequences of Social Anxiety by de-traumatising using Rewind will be important as the chances are high that there is trauma lurking somewhere – that seeded the social awkwardness and avoidance. And this seed is often to be found in early life – in bullying at school or loneliness as a teenager or failing to relate properly at college.
Building a better relationship with anxiety is important if extreme self consciousness is the core of the social anxiety. This is because there has to be a shift from a fear of crowds and social situations to a friendlier prompting to behave more naturally. However as a general rule, my experience is that the anxiety in social situations typically requires something a little more.
Reframing, relaxation and visualisations tools such as 7/11 breathing are always worth teaching to assist in gaining control and confidence. Rehearsal work under trance is though more important.
Action to get needs met is often the most useful entry point for therapy to overcome this anxiety as needs in the area of human connection will be seriously deficient, if not around work and security also. And by highlighting this, then motivation is built as well as the capacity to see their problems differently.
Social anxiety is often fuelled by fears of being judged and found wanting. And that it is much better therefore not to engage but to hide away. Of course these powerful anxiety feelings will often be prompted by trauma and perceived social failures in the past (often in childhood). But what to do when the trauma has been relieved yet there are still habitual fears that it would be better to avoid the risk of being judged and found wanting?
The answer then maybe is to realise that most social interactions are not prompted by the natural instinct to judge others but by the more profound need we all have to give and receive attention.
So for those of you still reluctant to engage even after the trauma has been cleared, then begin to see social interaction and opportunities (such as at parties or gatherings) , not as situations to be feared but as opportunities for your natural need for attention exchange to be met – as a hungry person might fall ravenously on a table full to groaning with good food.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) of course will struggle to relieve serious social anxieties – as the main unconscious divers will be left untouched.
Being present and mindfulness click here.
Effective help is there for you – that cuts through the anxiety to its core and then heals and rehearses for beneficial change.